§ Mr. Kilroy-Silk
asked the Secretary of State for Social Services how many detoxification centres are now in operation; where they are sited; how many persons each of them has treated; how many other centres are planned and for how many persons; and when they will be built and in operation.
§ Dr. Owen
There are no detoxification centres currently in operation within the terms of Section 34 of the Criminal Justice Act 1972. However, I understand that my right hon. Friend the Home Secretary has now signed the order bringing this section into force with effect from 1st April 1976. This will empower the police to take people who would otherwise have been charged with offences of simple drunkenness, direct to any detoxification centre designated by the Secretary of State for Social Services. The first such centre, a community based centre with 20 places, is expected to open in Leeds on an experimental basis in May this year. A second, hospital based centre with 15 places is due to be completed at the Withington Hospital, Manchester, in the autumn and should come into operation around the end of the year. Other possibilities including an experiment in London, are under discussion. Detoxification is carried out for individual patients in many hospitals, both general and psychiatric, as a part of their normal work.